Oxytetracycline induces DNA damage and epigenetic changes

Background. Oxytetracycline (OTC), which is largely employed in zootechnical and veterinary practices to ensure wellness of farmed animals, is partially absorbed within the gastrointestinal tract depositing in several tissues. Therefore, the potential OTC toxicity is relevant when considering the putative risk derived by the entry and accumulation of such drug in human and pet food chain supply. Despite scientific literature highlights several OTC-dependent toxic effects on human and animal health, the molecular mechanisms of such toxicity are still poorly understood.
Methods. Here, we evaluated DNA damages and epigenetic alterations by quantitative reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction, quantitative polymerase chain reac-tion, chromatin immuno-precipitation and Western blot analysis.
Results. We observed that human peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) expressedDNAdamage features (activation ofATMand p53, phosphorylation ofH2AX and modifications of histone H3 methylation of lysine K4 in the chromatin) after the in vitro exposure to OTC. These changes are linked to a robust inflammatory response indicated by an increased expression of Interferon (IFN)- and type 1 superoxide dismutase (SOD1).
Discussion. Our data reveal an unexpected biological in vitro activity of OTC able to modify DNA and chromatin in cultured human PBMC. In this regard, OTC presence in foods of animal origin could represent a potential risk for both the human and animal health.

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